A new swarm of earthquakes has cropped up at the Yellowstone supervolcano, with more than 200 small temblors detected in the last 10 days alone.
According to experts with the US Geological Survey, the latest swarm began on February 8 in a region roughly eight miles northeast of West Yellowstone, Montana – and, it’s increased dramatically in the days since.
But for now, scientists say there’s no reason to worry.
While the earthquakes are likely caused by a combination of processes beneath the surface, the current activity is said to be ‘relatively weak,’ and the alert level at the supervolcano remains at ‘normal.’
According to the USGS, the new swarm is occurring in about the same location as the Maple Creek swarm last summer, which brought roughly 2,400 earthquakes in a four-month span.
The University of Utah Seismograph Stations picked up the first quakes just over a week ago, counting more than 200 as of February 18.
But, the experts say there are likely many more that have gone undetected.
‘The present swarm started on February 8, with a few events occurring per day,’ according to USGS.
‘On February 15, seismicity rates and magnitudes increased markedly. As of the night of February 18, the largest earthquake in the swarm is M2.9, and none of the events have been felt. All are occurring about 8 km (5 mi) beneath the surface.’
Yellowstone is home to several faults, and has a long history of seismic activity.
As natural processes occur beneath the surface and ‘stress effects’ from past events continue to maintain their hold, the area remains a ‘hotbed of seismicity and swarm activity,’ according to USGS.
COULD AN ERUPTION AT THE YELLOWSTONE SUPERVOLCANO BE PREVENTED?
Nasa believes drilling up to six miles (10km) down into the supervolcano beneath Yellowstone National Park to pump in water at high pressure could cool it.
Despite the fact that the mission would cost $3.46 billion (£2.63 billion), Nasa considers it ‘the most viable solution.’
Using the heat as a resource also poses an opportunity to pay for plan – it could be used to create a geothermal plant, which generates electric power at extremely competitive prices of around $0.10 (£0.08) per kWh.
But this method of subduing a supervolcano has the potential to backfire and trigger the supervolcanic eruption Nasa is trying to prevent.
‘Drilling into the top of the magma chamber ‘would be very risky;’ however, carefully drilling from the lower sides could work. Continue reading this report here.
Mr Americana, Overpasses News Desk
February 20th, 2018